Norwegian seafood producers have welcomed the free trade agreement between Norway and the UK which entered into force yesterday
Norway fishing organisation Sileslaget has welcomed the free trade agreement between Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom which entered into force yesterday, 01 September.
Norwegian companies have been able to make use of parts of the agreement since 1 December 2021, but now the agreement will come into force in its entirety.
The UK is Norway’s second most important single market, after the EU. In 2021 alone, Norwegian companies exported almost NOK 285 billion (£24.6 billion) worth of goods to the UK, while imports were around NOK 40 billion (£3.5 billion).
Norwegian industrial companies will continue to be free of customs duties, so that Norwegian exporters do not face more burdensome customs procedures in the UK than competitors from the EU. It will also be easier to get duty-free when exporting to the UK.
The free trade agreement has been applied between Norway and Great Britain since 1 December 2021, and Norwegian companies have therefore already been able to benefit from the obligations in the goods and services area for almost a year. On the other hand, it is only now that the agreement’s obligations for public procurement come into force, and Norwegian companies thereby gain good access to the large British market for public procurement.
About the free trade agreement:
– In June 2021, the EEA/EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway agreed with the UK on a free trade agreement.
– The free trade agreement is broader than Norway’s other free trade agreements through the EFTA cooperation. It contains, among other things, separate chapters on small and medium-sized enterprises, professional approval and digital trade.
– The agreement involves several important improvements for market access for Norwegian seafood, such as frozen peeled prawns. This can be exported duty-free from 1 January 2023. The agreement also provides zero duty or access to duty-free import quotas for frozen whitefish fillets. Thus, virtually all exports of whitefish to Great Britain are duty-free.
– On public procurement, the free trade agreement goes further than the WTO agreement on public procurement, with, among other things, provisions on facilitating the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, safeguarding environmental concerns, as well as consideration of social responsibility and working conditions and the use of electronic means of communication. The agreement covers more clients and more services than the WTO agreement on public procurement, and also covers the awarding of concession contracts.
– Although the agreement will provide more predictable framework conditions for Norwegian investors, exporters and service providers, it cannot compare with the EEA agreement. Before Brexit, through the EEA agreement, Norway had free movement of goods, services, capital and people into the UK. A free trade agreement will not provide equivalent access to the UK market.
– The free trade agreement with the UK has been temporarily partially applied between Norway and the UK since 1 December 2021.